Nano Centa bilong ol Meri (Nano Centre of Women)
Nano Centa bilong ol Meri (Nano Centre of Women) was Blessed and opened 26th April 1987 in Ningil, Papua New Guinea. This Centre was the inspiration of Sr Patricia McNeil, Presentation Sister from Tasmania and one of the five Founding Sisters of the Mission in Papua New Guinea.
Sister Monica Shelverton (from Tasmania and stationed at the Mission in Ningil) was charged with getting the project off the ground and supervising the works. For such an important occasion Sr Monica approached Fr Emilio, an Italian Franciscan Missionary well known in the Diocese for his gift with brush and oils, and asked if he would paint a small picture of Nano Nagle for the Centre. The people and the Sisters were delighted with the rather large painting of Nano, (painted on a board) now hanging on the wall in the upper room.
“The painting expresses the story of the Sisters who, inspired by the Irish Foundress, came to Papua New Guinea in the spirit of Nano to witness to the love of God already present in the people. They came to assist in the education of the people, in their health and growing knowledge of life in general and to help deepen God’s love for them through faith development” said Sr Monica.
“In the painting Nano is depicted surrounded by local Papuan women in a bush setting. The lantern, a symbol of Nano, and the coconuts, a national symbol of Papua New Guinea, are enhanced by the three frangipani flowers representing the Trinity”.
The Nano Centre for Women is greatly used by the local people near and far. Women who come in from the outlying villages can sleep there overnight. A food preparation room and cooking facilities (open fire) are provided. Some days women gather to sew and make clothes to sell at the Sunday markets. Other times they gather for discussion and sharing or for workshops. Nowadays, even men are allowed in for special purposes! (the Friends of Nano gather for their meetings) but is really the women’s very own centre!